Monday, February 6, 2017


Nickname: "Baby Joe"

  Born in Tonawanda, NY, Buffalo's "Baby" Joe Mesi was a great amateur boxer who won the New York Golden Gloves and made it to the finals of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.  Losing to eventual representative Lawrence Clay Bey.  Not bad for a guy who didn't even pick up boxing until he was 19 years old.  He was obviously talented, and a fast learner with a solid work ethic.

   Joe turned professional on Nov. 1, 1997, just weeks before his 24th birthday.  He served quick notice that he was a heavyweight to watch, as he ko'd Dwayne Cason Allen in 1 round.

   He continued to face opponents that could not put up much reistance against his skills.  He just kept fighting and building a huge fan base in the Buffalo area.  After 13 fights, and wins over well regarded Art Bayliss and Brian Sargent, he took a shot at the vacant New York State Heavyweight Title against Brooklyn's Anthony Green (10-5, 2 ko).  It was pretty interesting for a few rounds, but Mesi started to get to Green, and eventually stopped him in round 8 to win his first title belt and become "New York's Champion".

   From here it was the next level for Mesi.  He continued to win impressively against some very good heavyweights including: World Heavyweight Title Challenger - Cuba's Jorge Luis Gonzalez (31-6, 27 ko), Former WBF & NABF Heavyweight Champion - "Smokin" Bert Cooper (35-20, 30 ko), Derrick Banks (20-9-1, 7 ko), Keith McKnight (41-3, 28 ko), and IBC Heavyweight Title Challenger - David Izon (27-4, 23 ko).

   In June of 2003 he was ready to take another step up and squared off with the man who had held the interim NABF Heavyweight Title - Robert Davis (28-5, 16 ko), this time it was for the vacant NABF Heavyweight Championship.  Mesi was hungry and more than ready for the big moment, as he disposed of Davis in 80 seconds of the ESPN2 televised bout.

   "Baby Joe" was now 26-0 with 24 wins by knockout, world ranked and ready to contend for a world Heavyweight Title.  He took on 3 world ranked contenders and vanquished all 3 of them:  DaVarryl "Touch of Sleep" Williamson (18-1, 16 ko), Monte Barrett (29-2, 16 ko), and a huge showdown with former Olympic Gold Medalist & former IBF Cruiserweight World Champion - Vasily Jirov (33-1, 29 ko's).  His management team included Bob Spagnola who helped to guide him to the top of the rankings.  He was trained by Juan Deleon, the brother of World Champion Carlos "Sugar" Deleon.  It all came together.  He had arrived.

    It was the Jirov fight that would pretty much decide the rest of Mesi's promising career.  He was knocked down 3 times in the brutal war with Jirov, and even though Joe got up off of the canvass  to win a unanimous decision, an MRI showed signs of injury serious enough to move the Nevada Boxing Commission to suspend Mesi from boxing in Nevada.

   Mesi and his team guided by Bob Spagnola, fought the suspension, but even though they presented medical evidence to clear him, the NMSAC stubbornly held to the suspension and would not lift it.

   Joe would be licensed to fight in other jurisdictions, but the bigger name venues were hesitant to go against the powerful and well respected Nevada Commission.  He fought on and returned to the ring 2 years later in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico where he shook off the ring rust with an 8 round shutout over Savannah, GA's Ronald "The Prophet" Bellamy (14-4-4, 9 ko).

   He fought on in Quebec Canada, Arkansas, Michigan, West Virginia, and his final pro bout was held Oct. 12, 2007 in Rhode Island where he scored another monstrous knockout (in round 1) over Shannon Miller (15-3, 9 ko) to win the vacant USNBC Heavyweight Title.

   Joe Mesi was now 36-0, 29 by ko, USNBC Champion, former NABF & New York State Heavyweight Champion.  The medical suspension from Nevada was just too much to overcome, and he never fought again.

   "Baby Joe" drew huge crowds in his home town of Buffalo, NY, he was becoming a big name in the boxing world, a top contender and a champion.  Joe never lost in the pro boxing ring, he was talented, a fan favorite, and very exciting.

   Click here to see: Joe Mesi's entire pro ledger on

If you would like to see "Baby" Joe Mesi in action, I have the following bouts available on DVD:

1. JIM BRACKNEY                         [ko-2]
2. ROWYAN WALLACE                [ko-2]   
3. GARY WINMON                        [tko-1]
4. MATT GREEN                             [ko-2]
5. BERT COOPER                           [tko-7] (*HL ONLY)
6. DERRICK BANKS                      [tko-1]
7. KEITH MCKNIGHT                    [tko-6]
8. TALMADGE GRIFFIS                 [tko-5]
9. DAVID IZON                               [ko-9]
10. ROBERT DAVIS                        [ko-1] {Vacant NABF Heavyweight Title}
12. MONTE BARRETT                    [w-10]
13. VASILY JIROV                          [w-10]
14. STEPHANE TESSIER                [w-6]
15. JASON WEISS                           [w-4]
16. GEORGE LINBERGER             [tko-1]


1. T.J. Wilson                     ('96 Eastern Qualifier)
2. Lawrence Clay Bey #1   (1996 U.S. Olympic Trials)
3. Lawrence Clay-bey #2    (1996 U.S. Olympic Boxoffs)

Contact me via e-Mail:  The Boxing Guru